Purpose: Zumba fitness (ZF) is a well-known exercise program involving dance and fitness. Despite its increasing popularity, no analysis has been conducted on studies focusing on the cardiovascular (CV) profile of women who performed this activity. The aim of this systematic review is to provide insights into the impact of ZF on women's CV health.
Methods: Five clinical databases were searched. To be included, the articles had to include (1) women with or without CV risk factors (CVRF) and (2) CV-related outcomes resulting from a ZF program.
Results: Ten studies (322 women; 181 healthy, 141 with CVRF) were included. In healthy women, low absolute effect sizes for maximal oxygen uptake ((Equation is included in full-text article.)O2max), anthropometric and body composition profile after 8 and 12 wk of ZF were found compared with nonparticipants. Moderate to large absolute effect sizes were recorded for (Equation is included in full-text article.)O2max and body composition following 40 wk of ZF. Findings proved promising but less consistent for ZF studies involving women with CVRF due to the absence of control groups.
Conclusions: Data describe ZF as feasible for healthy women and a promising fitness option for those with CVRF. Because of the low quality of the studies on women with CVRF and the overall small sample size along with discrepancies such as the average length of the studies on healthy women, cautious interpretation of the findings is recommended. Further investigations with a standardized design are needed to verify whether ZF may be considered as an alternative fitness option in primary prevention of CV disease in women.